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Pac-12 Power Rankings, Week 2: Celebrations abound for ASU, but was it enough to get to #1?

We have a new team in the basement, but were big wins by Colorado and Arizona State enough to result in a new team at top?

Michigan State v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Leland Wong: Welcome back to our Pac-12 Power Rankings. As happens every year, there’s some confusion about what our exact endeavor here, but the debate seemed particularly heated last week and revealed that one of our very own voters seems baffled, which deeply worries me.

We’re here to rate the Pac-12 teams based on their overall performance (or perceived strength as a function of history, coaching, and recruiting during these early weeks) with a particular emphasis on the most recent game. It’s not a simple “who’s better than whom” placement and takes a bunch of subjective factors into consideration.

Here’s the Pac-12 action that went down in Week 2, including our first conference game of Evil vs. Evil.

  • Houston def. Arizona, 45–18
  • #6 Oklahoma def. UC Los Angeles, 49–21
  • #23 Oregon def. Portland State, 62–14
  • Colorado def. Nebraska, 33–28
  • #9 Washington def. North Dakota, 45–3
  • Utah def. Northern Illinois, 17–6
  • Oregon State def. Southern Utah, 48–25
  • #10 Stanfurd def. #17 USC, 17–3
  • California def. BYU, 21–18
  • Arizona State def. #15 Michigan State, 16–13
  • Washington State def. San Jose State, 31–0

And for everyone who said North Carolina was definitely a quality team based on the “reference” of being Power Five and how that automatically made it a more meaningful win than beating a Group of Five team, behold their greatness:

  • East Carolina def. North Carolina, 41–19

But yes—I’m the “stupid” one.

Ruey Yen: Finally, two games each for each Pac-12 team to overanalyze on their outlooks for the rest of this season.

Alex Ghenis: I’m going with the same strategy as last week. Two-win teams followed by 1–1, followed by 0–2. Then, try to balance strength of schedule, margin of error, performance on-field, and any improvement this week compared to last. Things will be more complex later in the year…

ESPN FPI references: for each team, each post includes the current FPI and change over last week, then who they beat with last week’s FPI and the new FPI (##/##), then next week’s matchup with FPI and % win chance. This week, the Pac-12 is this order (#Pac/#FBS): Washington (1/8), Stanfurd (2/10), Oregon (3/23), USC (4/26), Utah (5/34), ASU (6/35), Cal (7/36), WSU (8/40), Colorado (9/58), UC L.A. (10/60), Arizona (11/67), OSU (12/93)

ragnarok: So far, just six non-conference losses for the Pac-12—four of those on the road and three of them to highly-regarded opponents (@ Auburn, @ Ohio State, @ Oklahoma). I feel pretty confident that UCLA, Arizona, and OSU are the bottom-three teams, but there are a lot of defensible rankings for the top nine.

The rankings

In the event of a tie, those teams are listed alphabetically. The parenthetical number next to each voter’s name is where they ranked that team.

1. Stanfurd Cardinal (2–0, 1–0 Pac-12; seven first-place votes) ↔

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Stanford v Oklahoma State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last week: 1

Berkelium97 (2): After last week’s aerial assault against SDSU, I was worried that the Lobsterbacks may have developed a potent complement to Bryce Love. Fortunately, the offense was back to its usual self this week: an okay passing game and Love running wild. Holding USC without a TD is a great accomplishment for the defense.

Nik Jam (1): Usually by now we get a laughable upset loss that gives us hope that Stanford will finally have a down year. Instead, they’ve come roaring out of the gates… maybe that means their season will end with an opposite trajectory?

Ruey Yen (2): The schedule god gave Stanford a gift by scheduling USC this early. Shaw and his team predictably had a solid game against the inexperienced USC offense.

Alex Ghenis (1): Holding the USC offense to 3 is damn impressive—even with the level of inexperience (thx Ruey for that note), they’re still filled with talent. Love looked good from the parts of the game I saw.

FPI #10 (same), W 17-3 v USC (19/26). Next week: v UC Davis (FCS) 98.8% win chance

Nick Kranz (2): Ugh, Stanford’s defense was not supposed to be this good, I hate them so much.

Mike Foiles (2): Nothing wowed me about their win over USC, but it was a mature win for a mature football team. The improvement of K.J. Costello is key and the defense (particularly the LB’s and DB’s) had a very solid performance against the Trojans and their true-freshman QB. They do not strike me as a College Football Playoff contender this year, but certainly have a good shot at the North.

2. Washington Huskies (1–1, 0–0 Pac-12; four first-place votes) ↔

NCAA Football: Washington at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 2

Leland Wong (3): Tough to not put them higher based on their perception and reputation.

Ruey Yen (1): Nothing of note from this week, but the Huskies retain their top spot until they inevitably get upset by a middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 team this year (please let that be the Bears!).

Alex Ghenis (8): Best looking 1–1 team, by far.

FPI #8 (-2), W 45-3 v North Dakota (FCS). Next week: @ Utah (34) 71.9% win chance

thedozen (2): Jake Browning had 313 passing yards and still got to rest down the stretch while the ”other Jake” Haener saw action. The Huskies gave up a 69-yard rush to John Santiago, but not much else. The ads for Alaska Airlines made me want to return to Denali National Park.

Nick Kranz (1): We’re going to start learning whether or not UW is still the heavy Pac-12 favorite very, very quickly with Utah and ASU up in back-to-back weeks.

Mike Foiles (1): Hard to learn a lot from their 45–3 win over North Dakota. Their defense is stout once again on all three levels with depth. They will be without LT Trey Adams most of the year, so it will be interesting to see if their OL can power run consistently like they have in the past. Still, their WRs are improved and this team still looks like the king of the North.

3. Arizona State Sun Devils (2–0, 0–0 Pac-12; one first-place vote) ↗

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona State Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 5

Berkelium97 (1): what.

Nik Jam (2): Last year, I lamented that Cal would probably make a bowl game if they hosted ASU instead of Arizona. Then I really felt bad that Cal didn’t get a chance to feast on a “laughable” Herm Edwards–coached team. Now all of a sudden I’m thankful we visit Tucson (always a house of horrors) versus Tempe???

Ruey Yen (3): A much-needed victory for the entire Pac-12 conference. By the way, Herm Edwards played two years at Cal before graduating from San Diego State. (Nope, I still don’t think Herm Edwards’ CEO approach will work out long term in college.)

Alex Ghenis (2): That was a fun game to watch—against a ranked opponent that ended with a last-second FG. I said after last week that MSU might be overrated after barely beating Utah State, so by the end of this year the win might not look as good as it does right now.

FPI #35 (+6), W 16-13 v MSU (13/14). Next week: @ SDSU (68) 67.7% win chance

thedozen (3): It’s a big win for the Sun Devils, but Michigan State seemed underwhelming for a highly ranked team. The Spartans were a mess when they tried to run the football. So far, you could say that Herm Edwards is playing to win.

Nick Kranz (4): I’m not convinced Michigan State is great shakes, but it’s also a better win than most of the rest of the conference has managed. Extension for Herm!

atomsareenough (6): Maybe this CEO thing has a shot at working after all? Can we claim Herm as a Cal alum after this auspicious start and disown him once he starts losing?

Mike Foiles (5): Big win for Herm Edwards against a Michigan State team that is not as good as people thought they would be, but still is a solid football team. The Sun Devils will be making noise this year and expect this offense to put up points against weaker defenses than they faced on Saturday. This may be the best WR group in the conference highlighted by N’Keal Harry, who is the nation’s best receiver. I was pleasantly surprised by the maturity of their defense with a lot of young and inexperienced players. Very solid start on both sides of the ball and QB Manny Wilkins is a baller.

4. Colorado Buffaloes (2–0, 0–0 Pac-12; one first-place vote) ↗

Colorado v Colorado State Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images

Last week: 8

Berkelium97 (3): I’m not sure if Nebraska will be any good this year (they were 4–8 last year), but a road win over a Power 5 team is pretty meaningful this early in the season. If I were Colorado, I’d be uneasy with giving up 329 rushing yards and allowing Martinez to average 9.4 yards per passing attempt before leaving the game with an injury.

Nik Jam (3): Colorado might really be back. Even if the two opponents weren’t the greatest, that’s an impressive win over Nebraska very few expected.

Ruey Yen (4): Colorado got a bit lucky that Nebraska, who only has one true QB in former–Cal commit Adrian Martinez, lost Martinez late in this one. Nonetheless, it is another much-needed non-conference win for the Pac-12.

Alex Ghenis (3): Undefeated with a win away at an okay Power-5 team that lost its starting QB; however, Colorado gave up plenty of yardage, so that’s a concern. Their Power-5 win is clearly better than ours after UNC’s faceplant this week, so they’re ahead of Cal.

FPI #58 (+8), W 33-28 @ Nebraska (52/57). Next week: v. New Hampshire (FCS) 97.7% win chance.

Nick Kranz (3): On one hand, Nebraska pretty comprehensively outplayed Colorado, but turnover luck and injuries barely swung the game towards the Buffs. On the other hand, beating Nebraska in Lincoln always catches my attention—even with the program down.

ragnarok (5): Having watched both games last weekend, I’d take the Buffs over the Bears on a neutral field right now. I think the Pac-12 South is open to just about anyone—why not Colorado?

atomsareenough (1): Great win in a tough, physical game on the road in front of 90,000 people against a historical rival. They’re almost certainly not going to be #1 on my ballot next week, but any win that leaves your head coach almost in tears with joy is a pretty special game, so I’m giving it to the Buffs this week.

Mike Foiles (4): Big win for the Buffs raining on the Scott Frost welcome home parade. They got some help with the injury to Cornhuskers QB Adrian Martinez (former Cal commit) but a very solid win nevertheless in an entertaining game. Really like the maturity of Steven Montez and WR Laviska Shenault is as good as anyone in the country. Jury is still out on their OL and Defense but they will continue to be a solid team either way.

5. Oregon Ducks (2–0, 0–0 Pac-12) ↘

National Championship - Oregon v Ohio State Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Last week: 4

Berkelium97 (6): Herbert looked much more accurate this week, but it will be hard to make an assessment of this Oregon team until they play someone with a pulse.

Ruey Yen (6): Impressive win but it did come against Portland State. I am not sure even Oregon Ducks fans know what to make of this team yet.

Alex Ghenis (6): QBs had better stats at home against a bad FCS team than they did last week against a bad G-5 team. They gave up points, which puts them behind WSU.

FPI #23 (-3), W 62-14 v Portland State (FCS). Next week: v SJSU (123) 98.6% win chance

thedozen (5): Portland State is better at basketball than they are at football. Meanwhile, Oregon has to pretend that their next opponent (San Jose State) will present an adequate challenge to prepare for hosting the trees the following week.

Nick Kranz (5): Oregon playing bad teams allows me to stick my head into the sand and pretend that they’re maybe not good.

atomsareenough (4): They seem to be pretty Oregon-esque so far this year.

Mike Foiles (3): Hard to learn a whole lot against an awful FCS opponent, but the Ducks performed well nevertheless. Really like Justin Herbert and this offense. Still learning more about their defense, but the starting group looks good with Jalen Jelks and Troy Dye as good as anyone in the conference.

6. California Golden Bears (2–0, 0–0 Pac-12) ↗

Oregon v California

Last week: 7

Leland Wong (12): For all of the whiny MFers in last week’s comments complaining that “Cal is too low sniffle sniffle.”

atomsareenough (5): Yes, the Bears won a tough road game as we expected and you have finally bumped us up 3 spots, so we were right and you were wrong? Apology accepted! :D Anyway, solid win for Cal, the defense continues to be a revelation, and the offense looked a little better this week but is still concerning. I’m on board for a 2-QB system though.

Leland Wong: What...? What does this week’s performance have to do with last week’s ranking? Do you not understand the rules of a Power Ranking? We can revisit the introduction about this so you can understand the rules that the rest of us are abiding by; maybe that way you can stop embarrassing yourself.

Berkelium97 (4): This was a dominant demonstration that the Cal defense fixed last year’s issues defending the run. The offense looked much better this week and it seems like the coaches have figured out a surprisingly effective two-QB system. The passing game would have looked even better if not for so many dropped passes and an unfortunate fumble.

Nik Jam (7): The low ranking is more a compliment of the other teams above them that an indictment on Cal. We need to get the QBs to be consistent though.

Ruey Yen (5): Wins are certainly nice, but this Cal team still has several notable issues—particularly on the offense. Not to completely overlook Idaho State next week, but the Golden Bears have two weeks to figure a few more things out (I’m not sold completely that the two-QB system is the way to go) before Pac-12 opener vs. Oregon.

Alex Ghenis (4): The problematic transitive property of college football wins/losses says our wins aren’t all that great, but we still beat two FBS teams and one’s from a Power-5 conference. UNC’s faceplant this week was with a couple key suspensions, but that was pretty ugly. Cal winning away at altitude was a good sign, our defense is looking nasty, and the offense is starting to gel with the new QB setup. If we can beat Oregon (who’s hard to gauge right now) after our bye—at home and after Oregon plays Stanfurd—we might actually have a chance to be 7–0 heading into the Washington game. Trippy.

FPI #37 (-4), W 21-18 @ BYU (70/73). Next week: v. Idaho State (FCS) 99% win chance

Piotr T Le (6): On one hand: we are 2–0 with very convincing defensive play and the offense playing acceptably. On the other hand, UNC just lost 41–19 against Eastern Carolina, who lost to North Carolina A&T whose football claim to fame is is beating Eastern Carolina, and Arizona got its ass beat by a G-5 Houston. Per sport-reference, Cal’s Strength of Schedule of the teams we have faced is the easiest in the nation (very small sample size). But a win is a win and we are onto Idaho State.

Nick Kranz (7): Cal’s ability to schedule decent programs and then somehow face them when they are at their worst is kinda incredible. BEWARE, TCU—OUR JUJU IS COMING FOR YOU.

ragnarok (7): Cal’s defense will keep it in pretty much every game this year, but the Bears need to see the offense take another step forward before we can say the Bears will win any of those more competitive games. The second-half stretch (Washington, @Wazzu, @USC, Furd, Colorado) might be an 0–5 finish if that doesn’t happen.

7. USC Trojans (1–1, 0–1 Pac-12) ↘

USC v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last week: 3

Berkelium97 (9): It seems that the concept of outside contain has been lost on the USC defense.

Ruey Yen (7): The USC defense has put Bryce Love back in the Heisman argument.

Alex Ghenis (9): The offense got smothered, showing the transition between a first-round (and now NFL starter) QB and a true freshman who should technically still be in high school. Despite letting Love run wild, the defense held Stanfurd to a lower—and respectable—point count. How they are still in the Top 25 is confusing, though.

FPI #26 (-7), L 17-3 @ Stanfurd (10/10). Next week: @ Texas (30) 44.1% win chance

Nick Kranz (6): I should probably punish USC more for that level of offensive ineptitude, but I also know that their talent will shine through eventually.

ragnarok (6): I think at this point, many of us expect the Trojans to lose top NFL draft picks and just plug in the next blue-chip recruit without skipping a beat—and we are surprised when that doesn’t happen. This looks like a good year to get USC in September—I’ve no doubt they’ll be much better by the time November rolls around.

atomsareenough (9): The talent is young. I suspect they’ll be a much better team in a few weeks.

Mike Foiles (6): They will get better on offense as J.T. Daniels gets more comfortable, but there is nothing I love about this team. Defense should be good, but not spectacular. Their OL is pretty decent, but not dominating. It really will come down to how Daniels develops but they will lose some more games this year.

8. Utah Utes (2–0, 0–0 Pac-12) ↘

Oregon v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Last week: 6

Berkelium97 (7): This was a pretty underwhelming performance given that these aren’t the Huskie (yes they spell it the singular with an “ie”) teams of yore that would regularly win 11 games per season.

Alex Ghenis (7): undefeated over mediocre teams.

FPI #34 (same), W 17-6 @ NIU (78/81). Next week: v Washington (8) 28.1% win chance

Nick Kranz (8): I’m not sure if Cal is doing a better Utah impression than actual Utah, but good lord are they similar football teams.

atomsareenough (7): I’m fine with Cal being Utah 2: Electric Boogaloo. We have better access to talent, we can make it work. Anyway, as of right now, I’d say it’s between Utah being Utah and USC getting it together in time to win the Pac-12 South, with the Fightin’ Herms of ASU being the wildcard.

Mike Foiles (8): Disappointed in the way their offense played. QB Tyler Huntley still has some maturing to do, but he has the talent and the offense around him is better than last year. Love this defense. It is not the typical Sack Lake City defense with the secondary being its strength, but they are as good as ever on this side of the ball.

9. Washington State Cougars (2–0, 0–0 Pac-12) ↔

NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 9

Berkelium97 (5): The WSU defense held the admittedly lousy SJSU offense to only 109 yards. Meanwhile, Gardner Mishnew looks pretty good at QB. Maybe this won’t be as much of a rebuilding year as I thought…

Ruey Yen (8): I only caught bits of this game while watching the Cal and ASU games, but it took me awhile before I realized that the Cougs were not playing a FCS team. That’s some credit to this WSU team?

Alex Ghenis (5): Bageled a bad G-5 team at home after beating an okay Wyoming team on the road (by essentially the same margin as Missouri did this week). I didn’t watch the game enough to actually get a gauge of quality of play, unfortunately. Likely interchangeable with Utah/Oregon/(probably Cal), but ahead of the former teams because of SJSU’s 0 points scored.

FPI #40 (same), W 31-0 v SJSU (125/123). Next week: v EWU (FCS) 94.7% win chance

Nick Kranz (9): Well Ruey, I’d argue that there are more than a few FCS teams better than San Jose State. Heck, Eastern Washington might be one of those teams!

ragnarok (9): San Jose State was coming off of a loss to FCS UC Davis, so Wazzu failing to cover the 45-point spread doesn’t really tell us much. Any ranking between roughly 5 and 9 is defensible with the quality of most of the Pac-12’s non-conference wins still being so suspect.

Mike Foiles (9): Like this defense again even without the freak of nature DT Hercules Mata’afa. They are good in the secondary and still play a similar scheme by stacking the box and putting their DBs in one-on-one coverage. Do not love their offense, but their OL looks better than expected. This looks like a potential bowl team to me.

10. UC Los Angeles Bruins (0–2, 0–0 Pac-12) ↗

UCLA v Utah Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

Last week: 11

Berkelium97 (11): At least they’re not Arizona.

Ruey Yen (11): It will take some time for Chip Kelly to impose his will on this program, but there could always be some Hollywood type drama behind the scene of this program before that happens.

Alex Ghenis (11): 0–2, but a more respectable loss than Arizona.

FPI #60 (+1), W 49-21 @ Oklahoma (4/4). Next week: v Fresno State (39) 42.5% win chance

thedozen (11): It was a nice day for TE Caleb Wilson, but the Bruins allowed nearly 500 yards from scrimmage—not to mention an 86-yard kick return. The Los Angeles newspapers are writing their share of “learning experience” stories these days.

Nick Kranz (10): I really want to bash them—and I’m still very much Chip-skeptic—but this was never going to end any other way.

ragnarok (11): Fun fact: Chip Kelly now has as many September losses at fUCLA (two) as he did in four years at Oregon. He really did luck into a loaded program in Eugene—what he does with a program that needs to accumulate talent remains to be seen.

atomsareenough (10): I thought about putting them at #11, but I wanted to give the Bruins some room to fall over the coming weeks once they start 0-6. Maybe they beat Fresno or Colorado, but those are both going to be challenging.

Mike Foiles (11): Gonna be a long year for the Bruins. Not many answers on either side of the ball. Defense is not as bad as last year, but far from a good unit and the amount of youth on offense will keep them from being very competitive. Look for them to improve later in the season, but there is no way they go bowling.

11. Oregon State Beavers (1–1, 0–0 Pac-12) ↗

Utah v Oregon State Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Last week: 12

Berkelium97 (10): 649 offensive yards suggest that last week’s 31-point outing against an Ohio State University may not have been a fluke (even if much if occurred during garbage time). Unfortunately, surrendering 488 yards to an FCS team suggests that last week’s defensive ineptitude was also not a fluke.

Ruey Yen (10): Oregon State barely beat Portland State last year, so kudos to them for a dominant win against Southern Utah this weekend. There are hints that their offensive output is real, but the Bear Raid era of Cal Football showed us that defense is arguably more important than the offense.

Alex Ghenis (10): What Berk97 and Ruey said. Defensive failure puts them in last place of the 1–1 teams.

FPI #93 (+10), W 48-25 v Southern Utah (FCS). Next week: @ Nevada (90) 40.2% win chance

Mike Foiles (12): Not a bad showing, albeit against a bad FCS team. Want to watch this game a little more to see if their offense has any real potential. Thought their defense was dreadful at Ohio State in week 1 and it will likely be why they struggle to hang in games.

12. Arizona Wildcats (0–2, 0–0 Pac-12) ↘

NCAA Football: Arizona at California Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Last week: 10

Berkelium97 (12): Wow.

Leland Wong (12): Two losses to kick off a new coaching regime will hurt extra in a Power Ranking.

Ruey Yen (12): I have no doubts that the Wildcats will play better this season and be dangerous against Pac-12 foes, but what an unimpressive debut for the Sumlin Era.

Alex Ghenis (12): Womp womp. Last place is a battle between “Bear Down” and “Baby Bears” and losing @Houston by practically the same margin as @Oklahoma makes AZ earn the mighty #12.

FPI #67 (-12), L 45-18 @ Houston (71/54). Next week: v. Southern Utah (FCS) 94.4% win chance

Piotr T Le (12): As I tweeted on saturday, Kevin Sumlin’s Arizona is playing like we imagined Herm Edwards’ ASU would and vice-versa. There is bad and there is worse than the QB-less UC L.A. and Oregon State.

Nick Kranz (11): Khalil Tate getting 7 carries for 8 yards is an offensive coaching war crime

atomsareenough (12): LOL. I guess Tate isn’t 100%, and they’re getting some players back, so they won’t continue to be this terrible, but yikes, what a tire fire that was against Houston.

ragnarok (12): How bad did Arizona get blasted on Saturday? It made their previous opponent (BYU) look so much worse that I watched the line on the Cal–BYU game move towards Cal during the course of that game.

Mike Foiles (10): Wow that was bad and this OL is really struggling. Only had two returning starters to begin with and neither have played in the first two games. Looks like they will get one back next week, but this is not the same offense as 2017 if the OL cannot handle their assignments. It was one of the most underrated groups in the Pac 12 last year and folks are seeing the difference this year along with a downgrade in playcalling under Kevin Sumlin and Noel Mazzone. I was also very displeased with the defensive play on Saturday. This unit was supposed to be significantly improved and looked absolutely atrocious in Houston.

The data

The first thing we should analyze is how exactly we got here—by polling each of our writers for their personal ranking from 1 to 12.

Individual votes for week 2

rk Alex atoms Bk97 Joshua Leland Mike Nick K. Nik Jam Piotr ragnarok Rob Ruey thedozen
rk Alex atoms Bk97 Joshua Leland Mike Nick K. Nik Jam Piotr ragnarok Rob Ruey thedozen
1 Stanfurd Colorado ASU Stanfurd Stanfurd Wash Wash Stanfurd Stanfurd Stanfurd Wash Wash Stanfurd
2 ASU Wash Stanfurd Wash ASU Stanfurd Stanfurd ASU Wash ASU ASU Stanfurd Wash
3 Colorado Stanfurd Colorado Oregon Wash Oregon Colorado Colorado ASU Wash Stanfurd ASU ASU
4 Cal Oregon Cal Colorado USC Colorado ASU Wash Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado USC
5 WSU Cal WSU USC Colorado ASU Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Cal Oregon
6 Oregon ASU Oregon Cal Cal USC USC USC Cal USC Cal Oregon Colorado
7 Utah Utah Utah Utah Oregon Cal Cal Cal USC Cal USC USC Cal
8 Wash WSU Wash ASU WSU Utah Utah Utah WSU Utah Utah WSU Utah
10 OSU UC L.A. OSU OSU UC L.A. Arizona UC L.A. OSU OSU UC L.A. UC L.A. OSU Arizona
11 UC L.A. OSU UC L.A. UC L.A. OSU UC L.A. Arizona UC L.A. UC L.A. OSU OSU UC L.A. UC L.A.
12 Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona OSU OSU Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona OSU
Table 1. I’m kinda surprised anyone is interested enough to want to dig through this matrix of votes.

For each team, we compile the numerical rankings that they each received and compute two figures: the average and the standard deviation (a measure of how different the individual rankings are). We use the precise average rankings to come up with the rounded rankings that were presented above.

However, with the precise rankings and standard deviations we can do a bit of a deeper dive into the data than just the uninteresting 1–12 rankings. Presented in Fig. 1, we can see precisely how we perceived each of the teams. The standard deviations are still pretty big, but compared to last week, we’re a bit more consistent and at least we have a consensus #1. We also have a consensus basement (UC L.A., Oregon State, and Arizona) with nearly three whole spots separating these three from the next-highest team. Speaking of these three, congrats to Oregon State for bursting out of the basement—a combination of breaking a losing streak that’s lasted over a year and for Arizona flat-out deserving it.

Figure 1. A higher-resolution look into the Week 2 rankings.

We can also chart out both the precise rankings and the average rankings over the course of the season (Figs. 2 and 3, respectively). Typically, I break down these graphs separately, but I think this week there’s some value in direct comparisons between the two. The precise rankings show that our of the five-team pile-up in Week 2, ASU and Colorado skyrocketed upward, with near identical rates each week; however, these details are lost in the averaged rankings. And despite having some sizable activity in Fig. 2, Wazzu has actually held statically at #9 this whole year.

Figure 2. The evolution of our precise rankings over time.
Figure 3. The intelligent design of our rounded rankings over time.

Wazzu’s consistent performance is exemplified by their Madness score of 0—which captures how much movement up and down the rankings each team has made. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the biggest movers are Colorado and ASU (for being better than we anticipated) and Arizona (for their faceplant). USC is traditionally one of the Maddest teams and is right on the heels of these three teams.

Table 2. Isn’t putting a table Madness scores in a figure truly the maddest thing one could do?

As mentioned in the intro, they consistently-contentious comments section of our Power Rankings seems to be extra-spicy this year. Lord only knows what this week’s slapfight will be.


What will this week’s Comment Controversy be?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Graphs use colors that don’t resemble the teams
    (15 votes)
  • 8%
    Liked or hated the HIMYM finale
    (8 votes)
  • 25%
    The better team is ASU or Colorado
    (25 votes)
  • 15%
    WSU should stop holding steady—up or down
    (15 votes)
  • 11%
    Angelica vs. Eliza
    (11 votes)
  • 24%
    To punch or not to punch Twist
    (24 votes)
98 votes total Vote Now